Confined Space Equipment Review

Confined space equipment collage

One of the first things people ask when the subject of Confined Spaces comes up is 'What is a Confined Space'? The usual response is a small room or vault with one entrance/exit that is not designed for human habitation where there is a real risk of injury or death due to the proximity of hazardous materials, substances, or other dangerous conditions. Usually, this also implies poor ventilation. Confined spaces include agricultural silos, sewers, storage tanks, mines, reaction vessels, vats, combustion chambers, and enclosed drainage systems. However, it must be said that this is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of where and how confined spaces should be defined.

There are circumstances that render what might be thought of as 'clear' areas dangers. Consider a large drainage pipe running under a highway. It is open on both ends, in fact, you can see light in either direction. But without proper ventilation, gases such as Hydrogen Sulfide and Carbon Monoxide can settle here. Once inside, you may have to go some distance to escape, which may translate into effectively having only one entrance. Once overcome, the person inside may have no way of making an escape without assistance. This is why it is important to have a Portable Gas Detector, a retrieval line attached, and a trained co-worker outside. The personal evacuation system, designed for use in conjunction with the bosun’s chair (bosun seat), was created primarily for tasks involving rescue. In addition to the bosun seat, this piece of kit works well with a harness, lifelines, attached to davits or tripods with the help of anchors, as well as to a fixed structure. The rope accesses a top and bottom pulley system and the operator can move up or down by its own, self-supporting mechanism. At all times, regulation and control of the system are the ascender’s responsibility, although, in a rescue situation, another person may operate the system independently of the evacuee.

Please note that training is the key to raising the level of employee safety. How many times have we heard that it was the 'new guy' or 'rookie' who blithely went ahead where an aware person might have advised restraint? Some lessons are learned through experience alone, but how to deal with Confined Spaces is best taught in a controlled environment.

Question And Answer